Sunday, June 7, 2009

If Ever Oh Ever a Wiz There Was

Cake decorating can mean a lot of different things. Take a Wizard of Oz cake. On the one end of the spectrum, you’ve got your airbrushed supermarket yellow cake with lots and lots of gooey frosting and a plastic Dorothy and Toto stuck on top. On the other end of the spectrum you’ve got the cake Sweet Tempered put together for Mia’s birthday:

This is one of my personal favorites, and I was able to catch up with Christy this week on some of the wizardry involved in making it happen.

If you’re going to have an emerald city, it might as well look like emeralds. So, Christy built this one out of stiff fondant, and set it glittering with edible gold dust in the background. The basket’s Fondant too, a little extra thrown in for fun. The yellow brick road was piped on with a basket weave tip, and field of poppies was applied in little frosting kisses, one bloom at a time. There’s a tornado out on the far side, and lollipops. But the real coup de grace, the detail that you will never, ever, ever find on a grocery store cake?

The shoes. In Ruby fondant.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Here's to Mom

Moms rock. They roll. Moms stand us up, hold us together, banish nightmares, mend skinned knees, and heal wounded egos. Moms bring wisdom, love, and understanding. Without moms, we would, quite simply, not exist.

This last Sunday was Mother’s Day – a tiny glimmer of recognition for hard work often under-appreciated. I like to think that moms the world over got to take a moment of rest, got some extra hugs, got a gift or two from their adoring fan base. I hope all moms got to partake in some really delicious treats. Christy and Jennifer did their part to make that happen, hard at work at Sweet Tempered Saturday putting the finishing touches on a mountain of Mother’s Day cake orders.

The way I see it, one Sunday, even one Sunday with chocolate-layer-cake-with-ganache-filling-and-cream-cheese-frosting, even one Sunday with a blue sky and birds singing, doesn’t really cover it. Here’s to a little Mother’s Day appreciation every day. Mom deserves it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The First Annual Cupcake Invitational

The cupcake renaissance has hit Austin with full force, and people all over the city have started to take notice. Cupcakes are showing up everywhere: topped with bows at Birthday Parties, stacked high in pastel buttercream at Baby Showers, grouped in eyebrow raising arrangements at Bachelorette Parties, and layered in elegant tiers for Weddings. And many a happy cupcake-loving Austinite has a favorite; a neighborhood joint, somewhere off the beaten path, and always fiercely defended as the Best There Is. Some of us go so far as to offer to blog for our favorites. But I digress.

So how to sort through all this subjective fandom? Leave it to the Austin office of Deloitte Consulting to take a more scientific approach.

On March 27th, on the heels of a corporate training, consultants from the office gathered in a conference room for an Austin Cupcake Invitational. Here’s how the competition went down, according to an anonymous source at the office:

We worked with 4 bakeries, Hey Cupcake, Sweet Tempered, Polkadots, and Delish. Each bakery provided us three types of cupcakes – Chocolate, Vanilla, and Baker’s Choice. Each cupcake was judged on three separate criteria – taste (10 pts), appearance (5 pts), and frosting (5 pts). To avoid predispositions to any one particular vendor, we put cupcakes from each bakery on a color coded napkin and kept the true identity a secret until the end. [ed. note: That's Sweet Tempered on the yellow, Polkadots on the blue, Hey Cupcake on the White and Delish on the Red]

So, how’d it turn out? Who’s cupcake reigned supreme?

With the highest scoring cupcake overall (peppermint with chocoloate ganache), the best Vanilla, and huge accolades through the afternoon, Sweet Tempered took a clear victory.
The final Tally:

Bakery Chocolate Vanilla Baker's Choice Average
Sweet Tempered 13.33 13.36 14.75 13.81
Polkadots 13.71 11.91 14.00 13.21
Delish 11.92 11.91 12.60 12.14
Hey Cupcake 09.43 10.29 13.25 10.99

Stumbling out of the room, each on the verge of a sugar coma, the judges declared the Cupcake Invitational Complete. They also renamed it:

The First Annual Cupcake Invitational.

We’re expecting others to wage a fierce battle for next year. And I fully expect another Sweet Tempered victory. You know why? ‘Cause they’re the Best There Is.